New Orleans, LA

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New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and artists from the city were instrumental in the development of that musical style. New Orleans is full of cultural influences, having been traded between France, Spain, and the United States during its first 100 years. This has led to a unique combination of music, cuisine, language, and fashion found in few other places in the country. | Read more below »

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Oct 28, 2017
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New Orleans City Guide

Quick Facts

Located in:Louisiana
Nicknames:The Big Easy; The Crescent City
Resources: Official Website
Official Tourism Website


Founded in 1712 as a colony of the Kingdom of France, New Orleans quickly became a cultural meeting place as it was traded to Spain and back to France in the course of about 40 years. The city was sold to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

New Orleans was a major port in the Atlantic slave trade and later the civil rights era of the 1950s and '60s. Following the Civil War, New Orleans faced a long period of decline, but eventually regained its footing as a tourist destination. Today it is perhaps best known as hosting Mardi Gras.

Steamboat in New Orleans
A steam paddleboat in New Orleans.


New Orleans is home to a vibrant theater community. Each season the Broadway in New Orleans series brings to the city several Broadway productions. Currently shows include Wicked, Million Dollar Quartet, and Madame Butterfly. Besides the Broadway series are major productions runs by several area performing organizations, as well as a number of community and university theater groups.

Venues include: Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts; Southern Repertory Theatre; Jackson Performing Arts Society; Rivertown Repertory Theatre; AllWays Lounge; Anthony Bean Community Theatre.


As the birthplace of jazz music, New Orleans has dozens of jazz clubs and halls throughout the city, with several located in the French Quarter. Venues such as Preservation Hall, Snug Harbor, and Sweet Lorraine's continue to uphold the city's musical roots.

In addition to the clubs, the city hosts an annual Jazz Fest, which is one of the most attended festivals of the year anywhere in the United States. The festival has since expanded beyond jazz, but most of the acts appearing at the festival play music which was influenced by jazz.

Finally, the city is a major stop in many artist and band's touring schedules.

Venues include: New Orleans Arena; House of Blues; Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts; UNO Lakefront Arena; Harrah's New Orleans Casino; One Eyed Jacks; The Howlin Wolf; Mercedes-Benz Superdome.


New Orleans has two major league sports teams. Since 1967 it has been home to the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. The Saints most recently won the league championship in 2009. The city has also been home to the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA since 1988. Both are owned by businessman Tom Benson.

Teams include: New Orleans Saints; New Orleans Zephyrs; New Orleans Hornets; New Orleans Jazz; as well as the minor-league baseball Zephyrs, Arena Football League VooDoo, and National Premier Soccer League Jesters.


The food of New Orleans is just as rich in history and culture as its music. With a mix of French, Spanish, English, Chinese, Native American, and African American influences, it has developed its own unique palate over the years.

New Orleans is well known for its Creole and Cajun cuisine. Common dishes include jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish, and red beans and rice. Traditionally, the use of local ingredients in dishes have been a hallmark of New Orleans cooking, and its short distance to the Gulf of Mexico makes seafood easily transportable.

Additional Resources: A comprehensive guide and search engine of restaurants in New Orleans or find ratings of restaurants by people who have eaten at them.

Other Attractions

As much as its known for its music and food, New Orleans is also known for its culture and nightlife, each of which provide residents and visitors plenty to do. The city is itself an attraction, particularly the architecture found in the French Quarter. The area itself also provides plenty of opportunities to eat, shop, visit one of the historical homes, or learn at one of the city's museums.

There are also numerous museums throughout the city, including the Amistad Research Center, Louisiana Children's Museum, and the official National World War II Museum. Plenty of wildlife also lives in the city, as the Aquarium of the Americas, Butterfly Garden, and Zoo are managed by the city's Audubon Institute.

Finally, whether it's the outdoor life or the nightlife, New Orleans is dotted with plenty of parks, squares, bar, and clubs.

Additional Resources: A guide to various New Orleans attractions, and a guide to New Orleans parks and squares.

A subway station in New York City
The St. Charles Avenue line uses cars built in the 1920s.


There are several ways to get around New Orleans. The city operates one of the few remaining streetcar systems in the United States. The system currently has four lines; three are along major streets — St. Charles Avenue, Canal Street, and Loyola Avenue — while the Riverfront Line runs along the banks of the Mississippi River. The Loyola Avenue Line is the newest, having opened in early 2013. Several expansions are in progress or planned for the future.

Aside from streetcars, the primary public transportation option is the bus, with numerous lines all throughout the city. New Orleans is also has a well-established bicycling culture, and places 6th in terms of bicyling commuters. Finally, the Canal Street Ferry transports passengers to the Algiers Point neighorhood and nearby Gretna, LA.

Additional Resources: Information about the bus and streetcar system.